Saturday, April 17, 2010

Allergies worse? Climate change could be culprit, study finds

USA Today: Allergies will worsen and trigger more asthma attacks if climate changes continues, warns a new report by the National Wildlife Federation. "Climate change could allow highly allergenic trees like oaks and hickories to start replacing pines, spruces and firs that generally don't cause allergies, exposing many more people to springtime allergy triggers," says lead author Amanda Staudt, a National Wildlife Federation climate scientist, in a statement.

The report identifies nine states as hot spots for large increases in allergenic tree pollen if global warming goes unabated: Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.

It says seven more states are at risk for moderate increases in such pollen: Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Fall allergies, primarily caused by ragweed, are also getting worse, because ragweed grows faster, produces more pollen per plant, and has higher allergenic content under increased carbon dioxide levels, according to the report.

It says global warming is especially bad news for asthmatics whose attacks are triggered by allergens or in urban areas, by ozone pollution. "We can't afford for allergies and asthma to get worse," says Mike Tringale of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Already, he says they affect about 50 million Americans and cost nearly $27 billion in medical costs and nearly $6 billion in lost productivity and earnings….

Edison kinetoscopic record of Fred Ott's sneeze, taken & copyrighted by W.K.-L. Dickson, Orange, N.J. 1894

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